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Backstage: Paul's Workshop => Audio-related Tech Advice, Support & Discussion => Topic started by: VDB on October 27, 2014, 10:51:54 AM

Title: Earbud recommendations
Post by: VDB on October 27, 2014, 10:51:54 AM
Now soliciting recommendations for good quality ear buds. I don't consider myself an audiophile so anything too high up the scale may be lost on me and at unnecessary cost.

I had a set of Nuforce NE-6s that I was pretty fond of, but which met an early death in the laundry one day. The newer generation NE-700Xs are of notably poorer build quality and are literally falling apart on me.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: mattstick on October 27, 2014, 10:53:53 AM

Price range?

Are these for walking around? Exercise? Listening at home? Listening on airplane?

I have a few sets of earbuds for different purposes...
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: Augustus on October 27, 2014, 10:58:39 AM
If anyone is looking for cheap and light buds for running, I use these Sony buds that go for $12.
Nice bass with three fittings that actually stay in your ear.

(http://pisces.bbystatic.com/image2/BestBuy_US/images/products/4987/4987667_500x500_sa.jpg;canvasHeight=500;canvasWidth=500)

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/sony-earbud-headphones-black/4987667.p?id=1218589747316&skuId=4987667
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: mattstick on October 27, 2014, 11:10:26 AM
For my running earbuds I use the extended warranty from Best Buy and get new ear buds every year.

Currently using these:

(http://www.bestbuy.ca/multimedia/Products/500x500/103/10322/10322287.jpg)

http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/bose-bose-soundsport-in-ear-headphones-green-soundsport-ie-mfi-gr/10322287.aspx?path=8b0520051a9ffdb1d9e3271216d8503cen02
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: Augustus on October 27, 2014, 11:15:25 AM
That's a sweet deal!
I've never liked buds with a vol control on it for running, tho.

Those Sony buds are great for me 'cause I keep a pair everywhere I might need them if I need to get running.
Currently have 4 in circulation and they're all pretty old.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: mattstick on October 27, 2014, 11:34:28 AM

Yeah the model I have doesn't have volume control on them actually.

Best Buy extended warranty costs $30, you can return them no questions asked...  so once I get tired of them I return them for full refund minus extended warranty.

I'm not a Bose guy but these are "open" in that you don't seal off your ear canal so you can still hear cars and stuff around you - last 10K I ran with a friend I had music on but we also talked occasionally throughout the race.

Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: VDB on October 27, 2014, 12:07:12 PM
To answer your questions, Matt:

I would have said my price range was the Nuforce range (MSRP $65), but if their current quality is indicative of what I get at that level, then of course I'll go higher.

The usage is all purpose if nothing else by default as I have not heretofore gotten different pairs for different purposes. So that includes running, gym, sitting at work, airplanes, futzing around the yard, etc.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: mattstick on October 27, 2014, 12:15:18 PM

I used to swear by V-Moda, they're current entry in that market is these:

http://v-moda.com/remix-remote/

Without breaking the $100 barrier they produced great sound and were durable.

Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: zackonthetrain on October 27, 2014, 04:20:41 PM
IF anyone is interested id be more than happy to share some Skullcandy discount codes, i do IT for them and should be getting some new codes before the hollidays for 50% or 75% off. 

http://www.skullcandy.com/shop/earbuds/

The methods are the best IMO, everything is lifetime warranted. The quality has been great for the money w/ the new products, not nearly as many warranties as we used to get in years passed.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: slslbs on October 28, 2014, 10:28:59 AM
I have Klipsch (forget the model #, but they probably have new ones by now). Comfortable, very good sound, at the time they were about $70.00 at Best Buy or Amazon. They block exterior noise very well. The only negative is that I have to adjust them, particularly the left one, if I'm doing something active.
I typically don't run with them unless I'm on a treadmill, then have to adjust the left one every 5 minutes or so.

I tried the Bose but found them a little uncomfortable - I was also concerned they might not block enough sound on a plane, but they might be a bit more stable because they don't require a perfect seal (comments, Matt?). If you have a Bose store near you, they let you try them on. Most stores don't let you do that.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: VDB on December 02, 2014, 10:13:40 PM
Hmm, seems a lot of the models I'm seeing, including Kilpsch and V-Moda, include a mic and/or volume controls by default. I'd rather not deal with the extra weight and bulk. Anyone have a favorite set that eschews that feature?
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: gainesvillegreen on March 19, 2015, 10:02:23 PM
Somewhat in the same boat. Running and in the gym 5 days a week, having trouble discerning the next step of headphones here.
I can spend up to $150 on these, but I am not reading over the top reviews of the Bose Freestyle or SEi2's although both read as though they fit well for vigorous excercise. Noise cancellation isn't a necessity for me as I am running and can use the breakthrough sound for safety, but if I load this iPhone with ALAC I want fidelity at that price point and I keep seeing they should be selling for $99 or less based on how they sound.

I can't seen to find Klipsch in this shithole of a town but if anyone has any of their headphone/ear bud products it would be great to hear from you as I can't find a bad review of their products.

Bose had 30 day, I may just need to do that....upgrading from Skull Candy crappers, I am sure the diff in quality is interstellar.

/end blog
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: tet on March 20, 2015, 06:19:10 PM
I have a pair of Shure SE 315s that have served me really well for more than 2 years - they've even got an optional special iPhone-compatible cord that has inline volume and answer/hangup/pause buttons.  Very comfortable for long wearings, and they've never fallen out of my ears - comes with lots of foam/rubber options of all sizes. 

Not sure what is current for them, but I had the E4c before and was really happy with the upgrade to these.  Really full sound without much coloring - just very clear and loud!
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: slslbs on March 20, 2015, 07:17:12 PM
I had a pair of Shure (I think the same model as Tet but not sure). I liked them but after about 3 years the L speaker went.

I got a pair of Klipsch and am happy for the most part with some issues

-sound is very good
-very comfortable and easy to insert
-they haven't fallen out of my ears but depending on what I'm doing, they slip after a while which results in a gradual decline in sound. I rarely run with them, but when I do, after a while every 5 minutes or so I have to adjust one of them.

I tried the Bose in the store and they sounded good but I had a difficult time getting them in. Noise canceling was important to me and the Bose didn't seem to have that
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: gainesvillegreen on March 24, 2015, 09:10:17 AM
I went with the Bose FreeStyle. With the extended warranty, it was right at my pricepoint and so far so good. The color schemes on the Sport variety didn't blow me away, and they have the same drivers, so there is no difference in sound quality.

Really good sound, certainly enough bass for my purposes. I can't tell if the treble is a bit thin or if it is affected by the ambient noise?

Went on my standard 3.5 mile run yesterday and no wiggle whatsoever. Taking them to the gym today but I am sure they will be fine there. I am a bit leary that they went with a straight jack on these rather than a bent or 90 degree angle as all the ear buds I've had in the past with this shape tend to wear at this pressure point. Perfect length of cord though so this hopefully will minimize the stress there.

I appreciate the feedback!
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: VDB on February 27, 2017, 05:06:51 PM
My current gym/exercise earbuds are on their last legs, so I'm back in the market. Seems like lots of the models named here are discontinued already. What's everyone working out in these days?
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: mattstick on February 27, 2017, 05:32:47 PM
I am no fan of Bose but their SoundSport model for daily use/exercise are quite good for a $100 product.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: PIE-GUY on February 27, 2017, 06:16:22 PM
Had great luck with Shures - but maybe not for workouts.

I use Westone C10's - custom molded for my years. They are great for planes, but they really block out sound, so probably not good if you need to hear a car horn for safety.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: Caravan2001 on February 27, 2017, 08:00:01 PM
I have these, and while they sound fantastic, I am not sure I would spend the $$ again.  They are great for really focused listening (airplane) but when I am working out, I am just as happy when I grab a $20 pair of sony's or the stock apple shit ones.  The Etymotics  are mint for listening to movies or classical music on the pad/pod though. But again, probably the last time I will shell out that much money for earbuds.

https://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-Research-ER4P-T-microPro-Monitors/dp/B000300Y9O/ref=dp_ob_title_ce?th=1
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: antelope19 on February 27, 2017, 08:13:16 PM
 :hereitisyousentimentalbastard

Wow....I had no idea people spent that kind of cash on ear buds. I just rock an old pair of standard issue apple buds when I run and they seem to do just fine.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: PIE-GUY on February 27, 2017, 08:39:24 PM
I have these, and while they sound fantastic, I am not sure I would spend the $$ again.  They are great for really focused listening (airplane) but when I am working out, I am just as happy when I grab a $20 pair of sony's or the stock apple shit ones.  The Etymotics  are mint for listening to movies or classical music on the pad/pod though. But again, probably the last time I will shell out that much money for earbuds.

https://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-Research-ER4P-T-microPro-Monitors/dp/B000300Y9O/ref=dp_ob_title_ce?th=1

I travel a shitton - I gotta have good ones. If you're spending over $200 you should really just step up and get custom.

https://www.westone.com/store/music/index.php/review/product/list/id/3207/ (https://www.westone.com/store/music/index.php/review/product/list/id/3207/)

Gotta see an audiologist to get the molds done. Totally worth it!
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: DoW on February 28, 2017, 03:21:34 AM
:hereitisyousentimentalbastard

Wow....I had no idea people spent that kind of cash on ear buds. I just rock an old pair of standard issue apple buds when I run and they seem to do just fine.
i think you're getting 2 different types of answers here. The high end buds seem to be for more focused listening.
I use over the ear Bluetooth motorolas for running. They cost around $20. I'm running on streets usually at a time where there is a decent amount of traffic. They do what I need them to do. I would never use them for transferring recordings or any critical listening though.

Then again. I listen to a lot of moe., so my opinion is pretty useless on listening.  :-P
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: VDB on February 28, 2017, 04:47:51 PM
I am no fan of Bose but their SoundSport model for daily use/exercise are quite good for a $100 product.

What's the deal with these weird hook things on this and similar designs?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31O3huSi5UL.jpg)
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: mattstick on February 28, 2017, 05:52:37 PM

Um, they fit in your ears?
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: ph92 on February 28, 2017, 05:59:36 PM
I have these, and while they sound fantastic, I am not sure I would spend the $$ again.  They are great for really focused listening (airplane) but when I am working out, I am just as happy when I grab a $20 pair of sony's or the stock apple shit ones.  The Etymotics  are mint for listening to movies or classical music on the pad/pod though. But again, probably the last time I will shell out that much money for earbuds.

https://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-Research-ER4P-T-microPro-Monitors/dp/B000300Y9O/ref=dp_ob_title_ce?th=1

I travel a shitton - I gotta have good ones. If you're spending over $200 you should really just step up and get custom.

https://www.westone.com/store/music/index.php/review/product/list/id/3207/ (https://www.westone.com/store/music/index.php/review/product/list/id/3207/)

Gotta see an audiologist to get the molds done. Totally worth it!
I'm definitely debating getting some molded IEM's

But I have the ER-4P's as well I love them to death! Not to mention they have the best customer service. I've had my pair for 8 years now and gotten the cables changed 5 times. Manual labor was hard on them. But I only paid for 2 of 5 of the cable replacements (out of warranty). Always fast friendly! Not to mention I love the detailed highs, but relatively flat and unobtrusive sound signature they offer. I can't stand sound equipment that has too much of their "own" sound, I find it can take away from the production of the recording.

I am no fan of Bose but their SoundSport model for daily use/exercise are quite good for a $100 product.

What's the deal with these weird hook things on this and similar designs?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31O3huSi5UL.jpg)
Those are designed to stay in your ear better. The bracket sticks inside the concha of your ear (the ridge just bigger than your ear cannal opening)
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: JumbleTheVents on February 28, 2017, 06:43:00 PM
Paging ph92...
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: rowjimmy on March 01, 2017, 01:13:14 PM
I am no fan of Bose but their SoundSport model for daily use/exercise are quite good for a $100 product.

What's the deal with these weird hook things on this and similar designs?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31O3huSi5UL.jpg)

I have those and they hold comfortably in my ears. However, the wiring design of having the left/right wires meet in a rigid 'T' puts too much tension on the wires and I'm certain that they are not going to last as long as my previous set. I wear mine for hours each business day both sitting and walking (sometimes running) and earbuds take a beating.


I'm open to suggestions for my next set, as well.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: PIE-GUY on March 01, 2017, 02:06:51 PM
I am no fan of Bose but their SoundSport model for daily use/exercise are quite good for a $100 product.

What's the deal with these weird hook things on this and similar designs?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31O3huSi5UL.jpg)

I have those and they hold comfortably in my ears. However, the wiring design of having the left/right wires meet in a rigid 'T' puts too much tension on the wires and I'm certain that they are not going to last as long as my previous set. I wear mine for hours each business day both sitting and walking (sometimes running) and earbuds take a beating.


I'm open to suggestions for my next set, as well.

For the train, I really can't say enough about getting custom molded Westones. I realize I'm a broken record at this point... but I'm a million-miler in the air and these have served me longer and more faithfully than any in my past.

https://www.westone.com/store/music/index.php/review/product/list/id/3207/ (https://www.westone.com/store/music/index.php/review/product/list/id/3207/)

Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: slslbs on March 03, 2017, 03:54:11 PM
I have the Bose I forget the model but they are sound isolating. I think they cost around $75 one year ago. Despite those funny wings they are comfortable and sound pretty good. No problems on a plane. I have had Shure and Klipsch, I think these are the most comfortable and stay in place the longest. I get about 2 - 3years out of these things - I have had the Bose for about one year +, we'll see how durable they are.

I also have Plantronics B fit blue tooth. They are not sound isolating so if you are running outside or on a plane you will hear outside noise (safer for running to hear the traffic). They also sound pretty good and are comfortable.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: tet on March 06, 2017, 11:05:23 AM
I realize this conversation is steered more towards the audiophile range of earbuds, but FWIW, I have been using the AirPods for the past several months, and they are beyond fantastic.  The battery life is really good, and I find the sound quality is better than older Apple buds due to the improved fit - I mean, I can shake my head like I'm raging an MSG Hood and they don't fucking budge.  The syncing is stupid easy, and the fact that they automatically will work anywhere within the Apple ecosystem makes life just brainless. 
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: ph92 on March 06, 2017, 11:08:07 AM
I realize this conversation is steered more towards the audiophile range of earbuds, but FWIW, I have been using the AirPods for the past several months, and they are beyond fantastic.  The battery life is really good, and I find the sound quality is better than older Apple buds due to the improved fit - I mean, I can shake my head like I'm raging an MSG Hood and they don't fucking budge.  The syncing is stupid easy, and the fact that they automatically will work anywhere within the Apple ecosystem makes life just brainless. 
From another thread.... but I'll just leave this here
(http://i.imgur.com/Y0jbCFY.png)

I have heard good things, I just don't like the fact that they seem easy to lose being so small.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: tet on March 06, 2017, 12:43:26 PM
I have heard good things, I just don't like the fact that they seem easy to lose being so small.

The latest iOS update (in beta right now) allows you to locate them (it tracks where they last were connected to the phone), and you can also play a loud sound from them to help locate individual missing AirPods.  If you lose the whole case, you can't play a noise, but it will tell you the last place you had it near your phone.  Not 100%, but pretty helpful. 

I also don't think the idea that one could easily lose these should be a factor; people lose phones, wired earbuds, wallets, and passports, and none of those have generated headlines.  I just think it's an easy "bash Apple" mindset that generates clicks, but is just stupid.  Take care of your shit and this isn't a problem. 
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: mattstick on March 06, 2017, 12:49:45 PM
I definitely want.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: kellerb on March 06, 2017, 12:58:28 PM
I realize this conversation is steered more towards the audiophile range of earbuds, but FWIW, I have been using the AirPods for the past several months, and they are beyond fantastic.  The battery life is really good, and I find the sound quality is better than older Apple buds due to the improved fit - I mean, I can shake my head like I'm raging an MSG Hood and they don't fucking budge.  The syncing is stupid easy, and the fact that they automatically will work anywhere within the Apple ecosystem makes life just brainless. 
From another thread.... but I'll just leave this here
(http://i.imgur.com/Y0jbCFY.png)

I have heard good things, I just don't like the fact that they seem easy to lose being so small.

As Tet mentioned, if you lose them, you can activate an option where the buttplug part vibrates harder the closer you get to the ear buds.  Kind of a "Hotter / Colder" thing.  Or "Marco Polo" if that's your bag
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: ph92 on March 06, 2017, 03:20:33 PM
I realize this conversation is steered more towards the audiophile range of earbuds, but FWIW, I have been using the AirPods for the past several months, and they are beyond fantastic.  The battery life is really good, and I find the sound quality is better than older Apple buds due to the improved fit - I mean, I can shake my head like I'm raging an MSG Hood and they don't fucking budge.  The syncing is stupid easy, and the fact that they automatically will work anywhere within the Apple ecosystem makes life just brainless. 
From another thread.... but I'll just leave this here
(http://i.imgur.com/Y0jbCFY.png)

I have heard good things, I just don't like the fact that they seem easy to lose being so small.

As Tet mentioned, if you lose them, you can activate an option where the buttplug part vibrates harder the closer you get to the ear buds.  Kind of a "Hotter / Colder" thing.  Or "Marco Polo" if that's your bag
Now fetish based geocaching groups will be rich!
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: EdBanky on March 12, 2017, 03:23:24 AM
Would just like to add that Monoprice has a great selection of earbuds. The sound sound quality is always above average to exceptional depending on the model. Their cheapest IEM's sound better than Bose IEM's i've A/B'd right next to each other. I like higher ends and not so much muddy bass noise. I won't look back for as long as they are affordable
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: VDB on March 20, 2017, 10:47:58 AM
After much consideration I finally decided on the Bose Soundsport buds.

Am I just wearing these wrong or is everyone else within earshot supposed to be able to hear very loudly and clearly whatever it is you're listening to? What the fuck? These could be OK for running, but I have no intention of wearing these to the gym or any other public environment where I would annoy the hell out of everyone around me by projecting my sound for all to hear. Seems to be substantially against the point of an earbud in the first place.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: rowjimmy on March 21, 2017, 09:06:18 AM
After much consideration I finally decided on the Bose Soundsport buds.

Am I just wearing these wrong or is everyone else within earshot supposed to be able to hear very loudly and clearly whatever it is you're listening to? What the fuck? These could be OK for running, but I have no intention of wearing these to the gym or any other public environment where I would annoy the hell out of everyone around me by projecting my sound for all to hear. Seems to be substantially against the point of an earbud in the first place.

If you turn them up loud enough you won't be able to hear other people bitching.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: slslbs on March 21, 2017, 09:49:19 AM
I forget - are those the sound isolating earbuds? If  not, then you will be able to hear outside noise. They make ones that specifically isolate outside sounds. I can check the model # when I get home.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: mattstick on March 21, 2017, 10:08:46 AM

So I have those headphones, but I'm not really aware of how well people can hear around me, and I'm kind of confused about how you're able to determine that they're loud for the people around you.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: VDB on March 21, 2017, 11:53:31 AM

So I have those headphones, but I'm not really aware of how well people can hear around me, and I'm kind of confused about how you're able to determine that they're loud for the people around you.

I was testing them out and my wife was standing next to me. She made the comment so I had her try them. I'm afraid they're pretty loud.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: mattstick on March 21, 2017, 12:01:37 PM

I can see in a quiet room maybe, maybe you need to turn it down a bit? :P

I like that I can still hear outside sounds, especially if I'm running outdoors while wearing these... so it's a give and take I guess.

Have you tried the different tips for a different fit?
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: VDB on March 21, 2017, 12:13:36 PM
I did try the different tips, didn't seem to matter.

And the noise seems quite clearly audible (to an outsider) even at reasonable listening volumes.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: VDB on March 24, 2017, 11:43:16 AM
My quest continues, and I've come across some promising-looking pages:

Sortable list of earbuds rated across different criteria (http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone-list/#)

Buying guide by sound signature (http://theheadphonelist.com/earphone-buyers-guide/)
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: mattstick on June 19, 2017, 12:54:25 PM
I definitely want.

All of my dreams have come true. Rocking the AirPods.

Switching from iPhone to iMac with a single click is killer.
Title: Re: Earbud recommendations
Post by: tet on June 20, 2017, 08:50:46 AM
I definitely want.

All of my dreams have come true. Rocking the AirPods.

Switching from iPhone to iMac with a single click is killer.
The rest of your lifetime
devoid of a care
If you keep your eyes open
you may find yourself there